To Charm a Naughty Countess

Written by Theresa Romain
Review by Audrey Braver

In 1819, Michael Laywood, the Duke of Wyverne, realizes he has to throw in the towel and leave his beloved Lancashire for the teeming streets of London to obtain a wealthy bride. Michael is the 19th-century equivalent of a nerd; his sole interest is in the workings of machinery and how to apply them to more efficient farming. He applies to Caroline Graves, London’s most popular, wealthy, and charming widow, who cannot rationalize why she helps him— he had fled London eleven years before after having been discovered kissing Caroline, a scandalous event that left the beautiful Caroline almost ostracized by the ton. She was rescued by the aging Earl of Stratton, who married her and left her a fortune when he died. The prospect of being a duchess is not enough to tempt the heiresses that Caroline introduces to Michael.

Romain takes a humorous approach to this second novel in the Regency Matchmaker Trilogy. The hero, Michael, is a handsome, presentable man, but socially inept—in the middle of a dinner party during which he is supposed to be wooing an heiress, he gets distracted by a lamp, which he disassembles. Romain portrays Caroline as a patient, competent lady who does not realize how great her own attraction to Michael is. This amusing novel is a perfect diversion for a summer weekend.